Capital Style editor Kristy Eckert on the perfect bath

Years ago, I met a family with four young children, and the mother - no matter what was going on - had one nightly luxury: her bath. It didn't matter, the family said, how chaotic the house was or what the children wanted - she'd slip inside, lock the door and retreat.

That's nice, I thought. But at that point, I didn't take baths myself.

When I was single, most of my life was Me Time. I didn't need to escape anywhere, because my whole apartment was my space. I could read quietly wherever I wanted, enjoy a glass of wine whenever I wanted, fall asleep as early or late as I wanted.

Now, as any Momma reading this knows, things are different.

Now I take baths.

It's an art form, really - achieving the perfect bath - and here is my recipe:

Bubbles: No need to spend oodles on special bubble bath; just drop in a few dollops of your body wash or shampoo, and voila!
Candles: Set 'em around, light 'em up and enjoy. My quickest calm.
Good reading: I wish I could say I use my baths to invigorate my mind with Jane Austen or Chaucer. But the truth is, I enjoy few things more than indulging in my People magazine, so celebrity gossip it is.
Beverage: Maybe it's a glass of merlot or a cold bottle of beer; maybe it's simply ice water in a wine glass. (On some days, it might be a flask of vodka but I digress.) Just think about what could give you a little dose of happy, and pour it.
One square of Godiva dark chocolate: Oh, who are we kidding - don't just buy a square, buy a bag. Aside from the occasional bath, you deserve to always have on hand a secret stash of yummy goodness. Your sanity is well worth the $4.
Sugar scrub: If you really want to treat yourself, Laura Mercier makes my favorite (available in different scents for $46 at Saks Fifth Avenue). I also enjoy the one-time-use Sugar Babe scrub balls from Lush Cosmetics ($5 at the Macy's at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing). Or, if you want to whip some up yourself, use brown sugar and olive oil (plus any essential oil, if you'd like). It's a bit messy, but very effective, and kind of fun, too.
Facial mask: I highly recommend the Pangea Organics Facial Mask ($40 at Generation Green in Dublin). It leaves the skin super soft, and one jar is good for a ton of uses. Or, find a homemade mask recipe online; there are dozens you can make with ingredients already in your kitchen.
Eye treatment: I recently discovered the Wei Tibetan Chrysanthemum Correcting Eye Treatment Pads. They're a splurge at $60 for 10 packages of two (you can only buy them online at weibeauty.com), but I'm telling you what - they're one of the loveliest beauty products I've ever tried. Or, offer your eyes a cool-down the old-fashioned (and much less expensive) way - shave a couple of slices off a cucumber and enjoy.

So here's to spoiling ourselves and hoping nobody knocks on the bathroom door while we do. Cheers, ladies!

Kristy Eckert is the editor of Capital Style, a bimonthly women's magazine published by The Dispatch Printing Company. To sign up for her weekly e-newsletter, visit Capital-Style.com